The Last Minute Dash To Re-Learn French After A Summer Of Procrastination And Forgetting That Nicolas Sarkozy Is No Longer President

This article was written by Emma Obank, published on 23rd August 2012 and has been read 26867 times.

Emma is moving to Lyon to work for WD40 in Bron for her first semester abroad, and then for the second she's travelling to the University of Valencia. At Christmas she's returning to the UK to do an internship for the BBC. Here is her first post about preparing for her year abroad.
With ten days to go until I embark on the fantastic life-changing journey that is commonly known as ‘year abroad’, I’ve decided that I need to sort my life out. Fact. I still have nowhere to live, and ‘appartager.com’ is proving to be quite difficult, as most ‘colocataires’ want a flat-mate for more than the measly

fifteen weeks that I have to offer. Although I do state that I am always in ‘bonne humeur’, they can probably see that I’m lying though my teeth when I write that I’m exceptionally tidy. They also probably don’t fancy hosting a twenty year old from Essex who has the tragic tendency to pronounce ‘beaucoup’ as ‘nice ass’ (beau cul). The house hunt therefore started again this morning, as I’d been tipped off about a French delicacy called ‘foyers’. For those of you who are not acquainted with ‘foyers’; they’re basically student halls for young workers. You can get a studio flat with your own kitchenette or a shared room for you more social folk!

After no one having replied to my email at L’Escale-Lyonnaise (the foyer in Lyon) my mother peer pressured me into calling them. Gulp. I don’t know about you, but I hate speaking French on the phone. My last encounter with a French phone call ended with me having to hang-up mid-one sided conversation due to my lack of vocabulary and my endless umming and arring. This phone call was not too dissimilar- it started off well with me asking if they had any rooms ‘disponible’, yet when it came to them asking for my email, there were so many vowels in my email address that both myself and the receptionist got confused. I then forgot what the word for the ‘@’ sign was and decided to resign from my post as the awkward English girl on the phone to send the receptionist an email about my own email. There is therefore probably little chance of me getting myself a dashing French boyfriend called Jean-Pierre or Jean-Claude as I probably won’t be able to give them the correct telephone number.

However, before this morning’s miniature disaster, I had attempted to brush up on my French whilst on holiday at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I thought I’d be all cultured and go and see Eddie Izzard’s show in French. I understood most of the first half, however the second half heavily featured the word ‘engagé’, which to this day I am still unsure of its actual meaning. My best bet was the typical guess of ‘engaged’, but I guess that would be too easy. Although Izzard may be one up on the whole ‘engagé’ front, I still managed to correct his French as he pronounced ‘we will have’ as ‘nous avoir’. I knew my French degree would come in useful - all I can hope is that my French employers understand my own version of French: Fressex.

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